Passing the torch

19 june, 2018 / By

In April 2018, Reporters Without Borders released the latest results of the World Press Freedom Index, a survey that assessed the level of press freedom in 180 countries.

The index measures perceptions of freedom in terms of the level of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, legal framework, transparency, and the quality of infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.

There is a growing trend of animosity toward journalists across the globe, RSF said. In authoritarian countries, journalists are accused of terrorist acts and those perceived disloyal to the regime are imprisoned on trumped-up charges.

The truly worrying development, however, is that even in supposed democracies, politicians are upfront about seeing media as an adversary.

It is against this backdrop that Marixi Rufino-Prieto has stepped down from being chairman of another newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, at age 78. She says she wants to spend more time with her family, especially with her grandchildren, and devote her energies to various advocacies, charity organizations, and foundations.

Under her leadership, the newspaper grew into a multi-media platform, showing how news organizations can adapt to changing demands while maintaining their core identity and principles. The news, after all, is still the news, however, it is delivered.

These are interesting times for the Philippine press. Fake news abounds and with the deluge of information from a myriad of sources, even those which are supposed to know better, it is difficult to tell whom to believe. The line separating news and propaganda becomes thinner by the day. Critics are immediately demonized, if not by an easily-slighted leadership, then by a horde of blind supporters who refuse to see that not everybody who criticizes a government automatically wishes it to fail.

It remains to be seen how Philippine media, its big and small players alike, will be able to temper these realities with the ideals that make journalism a noble profession. Prieto has done her bit. Her successor and all the rest of us who choose to remain have a wild ride ahead of us.



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